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DOES A FATHER HAVE A RIGHT TO SEE A MOTHER’S HEALTH INFORMATION?

Clearly, if a woman who is pregnant gives her consent to allow the unborn child’s father to see the results of health tests and checkups, he’s allowed to see them. However, can he still see them–on the grounds that it is also his child–if she doesn’t want him to?

In short, he cannot. Laws have been created to protect people’s personal information, which can’t be given out except when direct consent is given. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act keeps a medical center from handing out this information.

This is a very strict policy. Though this can be an issue for unmarried couples, who may not agree on everything regarding the child, it’s only fair to note that even a legally married spouse cannot get the woman’s health records without her permission.

This can change after birth, as the laws make it so that parents who are the personal representatives of their children can see the records for their children. This is needed so that minors have assistance from their parents or the adults in their lives when making medical decisions.

However, until the child is born, the medical records are considered to be those of the mother, not the child. Therefore, her privacy is protected by HIPAA and other laws.

Generally speaking, most couples won’t have any issues with this as long as they fill out the proper forms and work together throughout the process. As noted, though, it could be an issue for unmarried couples who may not even be in a romantic relationship. When this happens, it’s important for both parents to know their rights.

Source: FIndLaw, “Fathers’ Rights Before Birth,” accessed April 07, 2016

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